‘Regulate social media companies,’ says TV bosses in plea to UK government (VIDEO) UK broadcasters have called on the Tory government to regulate internet and social media companies to oversee their news content, as they currently operate “without any independent oversight.”

RT’s Polly Boiko reports that British TV news bosses have united to urge the government to implement an independent regulatory body for big online tech companies to adhere to, much like Ofcom, the industry regulator all broadcast firms are answerable to - including RT.

UK Broadcasters and Communications Providers claim that “there is an urgent need for independent scrutiny of decisions taken, and greater transparency.

“We do not think it is realistic or appropriate to expect Internet and social media companies to make all the judgment calls about what content is and is not acceptable, without any independent oversight.”

A host of surveys have shown TV news audiences being eroded due to the growing influence and popularity of online content - a fact which is causing alarm amongst TV news bosses. For 16-24 year olds, the internet has become the most popular source for news - 82% according to .

The intervention from UK news broadcasters appears to be not just about dissatisfaction at the lack of oversight of online news content - it’s also an issue about cash, taxes and supporting infrastructure.

They claim: “[We] invest significantly in British infrastructure and content, pay high and fair levels of tax, and we are all regulated by Ofcom.”

Bill Mew, a privacy activist and technology expert, says this move from broadcast news companies is primarily motivated by self-interest, but that it’s true to say large US social media firms have been able to get away with avoiding significant costs.

He told RT: “There is obviously a vested interest on the parts of many of these companies in trying to protect themselves from this form of competition.

“They see it as a very unfair playing field. These US social media giants have to a large extent avoided any of the costs in tax terms, in terms of supporting infrastructure investment in the UK, much of which is being born by the very companies that are signatories to this petition.

“The question is whether they [online tech firms] can continue to avoid regulation.”

Sharon White, Ofcom chief executive, has welcomed a clone of her regulatory body to oversee online news, claiming there has never been a more opportune moment to implement such a mechanism.

White said: “We welcome emerging actions by the major online players, but consider that the argument for independent regulatory oversight of their activities has never been stronger.”

The UK government have promised that new laws, set to be unveiled later this year, will make the UK the “safest place in the world” to be online.

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